Learning theories


Learning is defined as a process through which a person acquires knowledge or skills arising from experience, practice, study or instruction. It can also be defined as a process through which a person’s behavioral tendencies undergo modification as a result of experience and exposure (Bandura, 1977).

Training is defined as acquisition of competencies, skills, knowledge and competencies through teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that have relationships with specific competencies (Illeris, 2004). Examples of learning

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First year in a new job
First year in a college
Computer programs used to instruct users how to perform a certain task

Some of the synonyms of learning include; Literacy, education, scholarship, knowledge, erudition. On the other hand, some of the antonyms include; ignorance, illiteracy.

Types of learning theories

There are a number of learning theories. They include: Reinforcement Theory, Social Learning Theory, Goal Setting Theory, Needs Theory, Adult Learning Theory and Information Processing Theory (Ileris, 2001). Learning theories help in identifying the suitable learning methods according to circumstances (Marzano, 1991). It also helps in identification of the appropriate language to be used in learning.

Social learning theory

Social learning theory is a significantly important theory invented by Albert Bandura in the learning and growth sector. Bandura observed that people can learn new behaviors and information through watching how other people behave and do things. Social learning theory is hinged on three concepts namely. Second, is the fact that internally defined mental states are basically part of this learning process. Lastly, recognition of the fact change will necessarily occur because something has been learned.

Usually workers in an organization observe how their colleagues perform certain tasks. Consequently they get to know how certain tasks are performed. For example newly recruited and inexperienced workers in Coca Coca company in USA observed how their colleagues went about mixing several ingredients in making beverages.Eventually,they got to know how to mix several ingredients in order to make the required product. This theory would generate the same results if a survey was carried out in a similar company

Personal insight

Learning can be both formal and informal. In addition learning is a continuous process and therefore one keeps on learning every minute. This brings about development. There exists a great relationship between learning and development. Through learning one gets acquires new ideas, knows new habits, skills which together bring about change. People get to know new technologies through learning.


Learning is the key thing in a person’s development and therefore massive investments should be made towards this end. Organizations should realize that the only way to remain successful is by ensuring workers keep on learning new skills and new ways of doing things.


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

Illeris, K. (2004). The three dimensions of learning (Reprint English ed.). Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Pub. Co.

Ileris, K. (2001). Transformative Learning in the Perspective of a Comprehensive Learning Theory. Journal of Transformative Education, 2, 79-89.

Marzano, R. (1991). Fostering thinking across the curriculum through knowledge restructuring. Journal of Reading, 34, 518–525.


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